Washington: US Government on September 30 officially awarded General Dynamics a highly-anticipated contract to mass-produce the Interim Maneuver SHORAD vehicle.
This variant of the 8×8 armored Stryker boasts an anti-aircraft radar, a 30mm auto cannon, and a missile launcher capable of launching Stingers and Hellfires. (A laser-armed Stryker variant is also in development). IM-SHORAD will replace the aging, unarmored, and undergunned Avenger, a Stinger-shooting variant of the Humvee, which has filled the Short-Range Air Defence role since the Cold War. Its Hellfires also give it significant capability to kill tanks.
The first combat unit to receive IM-SHORAD is already training on prototype vehicles at White Sands, the Army’s director of modernisation for air and missile defence with live-fire training starting early November, Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson said.
The nine prototypes now being used for training and testing are basically identical to the final production version, but they were bought under a separate contract. The award announced is the production contract.
The Army also officially gave GDLS the first order under that IDIQ: 28 vehicles for US$230 million.